ZenZui Simplifies Mobile Browsing

  |  March 27, 2007   |  Comments

A zoomable interface lets users map bookmarks to the number keys on their phone for easy navigation, and presents opportunities for marketers.

Microsoft spin-off ZenZui has developed a graphical browsing user interface (UI) for mobile phones. The UI maps the nine number keys on a phone to navigational bookmarks.

In the UI, each number key maps to a tile which acts as a bookmark for particular content. Tiles can provide easy navigation to regularly visited sites, such as an Amazon.com shopping page, a local movie theater, Nike.com, or a site for a particular TV show. Users navigate by zooming in through the number keys, or a touch screen on compatible handsets.

The company and technology offer a number of options for marketers, from branded tiles to simple ad placements.

"What the research showed when we did product work was that people are very good at remembering special layouts, but not as good at remembering text or bookmarks," said Eric Hertz, CEO at ZenZui.

Users of the graphical system can map anywhere from nine to 16 tiles, though ZenZui expects to be able to expand the number to 36. Each number key will have four possible bookmarks assigned.

The plan is to offer the browser through carriers, but also off deck for users to download and create tiles independently. ZenZui will push content to the tiles in a manner similar to RSS. "That's music to the ears certainly to the user and music to the ears of the carriers," said Hertz. "It minimizes bandwidth requirements, data is sent during off-peak times."

Management of the tiles will be handled by users on the phone, or on the Web. "Each user will be able to manage and display new tiles on the computer," said John SanGiovanni, co-founder and VP of products and services at ZenZui. "The next time [the user] looks at the phone, they will be there."

ZenZui also has a viral component. Each tile has a feedback channel and a send-to-a friend function. Both functions potentially offer data to marketers and content owners. "We can report to marketers which are the most viral tiles and which are the stickiest," said SanGiovanni.

The UI offers an opportunity to marketers who want to create branded tiles, or advertise on content tiles. Advertisers can see ways they can do more with those tiles through brand extensions and transactions, said Hertz. For pure advertising, each tile has a space for a banner ad. Content owners not wanting to run advertising can opt to lend the space to a particular charity.

The concept began in Microsoft's research department and was then diverted to Microsoft Ventures Group, an investment arm which typically spins out companies which don't fit with Microsoft's core businesses.

ZenZui plans to enter an alpha trial period with around 100 users. It then plans to hold a beta trial with 1,000 or more users by e-mail invite, similar to the beginning of Gmail. General availability is expected in the fourth quarter.

The name ZenZui is derived from "GUI," the acronym for graphical user interface, (define) with a "Z" for "zoom" tacked on to signify the unique browsing method.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Enid Burns

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...